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NCTD revises train track fencing plan after backlash from some Del Mar residents

Del Mar wants to get trains off its bluffs
Posted at 1:32 PM, Jul 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-23 16:32:37-04

DEL MAR, Calif. (KGTV) — After receiving some push back from Del Mar area residents, the North County Transit District is revising plans to place a fence along railroad tracks near the beach — an area where surfers and beachgoers alike commonly cross over.

Right now, residents can walk over the tracks to get to the coastline. While NCTD says the fence is needed for safety reasons, neighbors and residents say having a fence takes away from their beach access.

"We come here to this beautiful coastline to get that feeling of freedom to recharge. To just enjoy what the world has to offer. Having a fence kind of takes away from that," said Allie Mendoza, who was visiting the beach Friday.

RELATED: Residents fight plans to build chainlink fence along Del Mar railroad tracks

"If we can have access like perhaps at 8th Street, 11th Street and other areas closer Torrey Pines for people and the public. Whether they're Del Mar residents or visitors to our city, they would have access to the beach," said neighbor Udo Whan.

NCTD's plan was to build a large fence to block people from crossing over the tracks, but after receiving pushback, has revised the plan. The new plan reduces the overall length of the fence from nearly two and half miles (12,960 feet) to a little more than one mile (5,698 feet). It also lowers the height of more than half of the fencing from 6 feet to 4 feet.

A chain-linked fence will be replaced with posts and cables for about half of the length of the fencing and vinyl-coated fencing for the remaining portions as well.

NCTD added that the plan is intended to improve safety along the Del Mar Bluffs, where between 2015 and 2019, a consulting firm found there were 33 pedestrian strikes between Del Mar and Oceanside. The worst areas were identified in Del Mar, where there were 11 deaths, according to the firm.

"I wish there was a better way to get people to understand this is not a joke," said Mendoza.

A statement released by NCTD Executive Director Matthew Tucker said in part:

"Our collaboration with the coastal commission and the City of Del Mar seeks to develop a community-sensitive approach that furthers these goals until permanent, safe, and legal crossings can be constructed."

A working group has been formed to review project alternatives and select a preferred approach by Dec. 31. The City of Del Mar is working with the NCTD and California Coastal Commission to make sure the review process allows for public comment.